BEAMONT Collegiate Academy’s year nine rugby league team may have ultimately lost in their first national final but the experience will make them stronger.

So says teacher and coach Mike McLoughlin after the 12-6 loss to a Castleford Academy team that remains unbeaten following Friday’s victory at Victoria Park Stadium.

“I’m really proud of them,” said McLoughlin.

“We knew we were going in as massive underdogs.

“We’d played them twice at year seven and eight and been beaten fairly comfortably. In the semi final last year we’d made a poor start.

“But they stepped up. It was magnificent.

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Billy Myers looks to make a break for Beamont Collegiate Academy in the Champion Schools' final. Pictures: Dave Gillespie

“I’d say we were the better team for huge chunks of the game.

“We went 6-0 up early on and kept that lead, but two late tries did us.

“I can’t fault the effort, it was marvellous.”

Centre Tyler Litherland’s first-half try from a kick by scrum-half Billy Myers, who added the conversion, gave Beamont a deserved lead in the school’s first appearance in the national finals for 14 years.

But the Wakefield outfit had two Tyler Czmeiduch converted tries to thank for keeping their impressive unbeaten record alive.

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Alfie Sinclair takes the battle to the Castleford forwards

“The response from them was that it was the toughest test that they’ve ever had,” said McLoughlin.

“You could tell listening to their dug-out they were very worried at one point, they were on edge and I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn by saying that. It was a good test for them.”

But despite the magnificent effort and getting so close, ultimately Beamont were defeated.

“It does give you that mixture of emotions,” said McLoughlin.

“Speaking to the lads since, they’re already focusing on next year.

“Comments were like ‘We can do these now’.

“I think it’s given them the self confidence.

“We’d worked very much on the positive mindset leading up to the game and I think that contributed massively to the performance.

“We didn’t have that fear that we maybe had before and that showed in the display. So kicking forward, yes, they’re disappointed naturally, but they’re growing, maturing and handling that well so it’s now about what’s next. It all begins again.”

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Jamaine Carty

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Jay Jay Catterall

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Joel Halligan

The team will have two more years together in school to aim for the top prize.

“We lost our first county cup final at year seven, then won it at year eight and nine,” said McLoughlin.

“And we lost the national semi finals at years seven and eight, but got in the final at year nine.

“So I think the penny’s dropped about developing and raising the bar.

“It would be very easy to throw the towel in and be gutted.

“They’ve got a bit more strength of character than that.

“They’ve been the nearly men and stepped up in the county cup, so that has given them the self belief we can end the time in school strongly hopefully.”

The attritional first half was characterised by determined defence and forced errors as two big packs battled for supremacy.

And the second half followed a familiar pattern as both sides refused to give an inch in defence.

Eventually Czmeiduch made his own luck, collecting a fortunate rebound from his own speculative kick to cross wide on the left, before converting to bring his side level at 6-6.

Beamont immediately tried to bounce back only for Kristiers Graudins to be denied by full-back Taylor Spence-Horton’s outstanding cover tackle.

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Kristers Graudins leading the way for Beamont Collegiate Academy

It was a tackle that changed the momentum of the game, allowing Castleford Academy to regroup and relaunch an attack that finished with Czmeiduch’s second try following a barnstorming break.

Czmeiduch again converted to put Castleford Academy 12-6 to the good and, although Beamont had promising moments late on, the Yorkshire side’s defence held firm to secure the silverware.